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Tourism in Mississippi


Mississippi airport
Mississippi airport

Tourism is of increasing importance to the state’s economy. In 2002 spending by tourists totaled $5.3 billion. Parks, reservoirs, the Gulf Coast, and historic sites draw many visitors. In the early 1990s legalized gambling along the Mississippi River and the Gulf Coast increased the state’s attraction as a tourist destination.

Transportation


The first important transportation routes in Mississippi were the Mississippi River and its tributaries. In the 18th and 19th centuries, flatboats, steamboats, and other watercraft carried cotton, lumber, and other products through Mississippi and down the river to New Orleans, Louisiana.

Waterways remain important in the state. The state’s chief ports on the Mississippi River are Vicksburg, Greenville, and Natchez. Paralleling Mississippi’s coastline on the Gulf of Mexico is a section of the Intracoastal Waterway. Two busy ports on the Gulf Coast are Pascagoula, which handles more tonnage than any other in the state, and Gulfport. The Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway in northeastern Mississippi, which opened in the early 1980s, connects the Tennessee River and the Ohio River valley to the Gulf of Mexico.

Among the state’s principal highways are interstate routes 20 and 55, which focus on Jackson, the principal route center of the state. In 2007 the state had 120,092 km (74,622 mi) of highway, including 1,123 km (698 mi) of the federal interstate highway system.

Most of the early rail lines in the state were destroyed by Union forces during the Civil War, and the modern rail network dates mainly from the 1880s. Jackson is the principal rail center. In 2004 lumber and wood products accounted for 27 percent of the railway freight originating in the state, wood pulp and paper made up another 17 percent, and chemicals another 26 percent. Mississippi had 3,993 km (2,481 mi) of railroad track in 2004.

Airport


Mississippi had 11 airports and airfields in 2009, many of which were private. Jackson International Airport is the state’s busiest. "Mississippi" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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